Photographs from Eni’s Historical Archive
Images form an intrinsic part of an intense narrative: the collections of the Eni Historical Archive contain material produced by big studios and great photographers. The images recount the historical and industrial evolution of Eni in Italy and abroad, the big petrochemical plants, managers and technicians who have contributed to the development of the company, representatives of institutions, business and politics on visits to company facilities, the introduction of natural gas in Italy, the export of technical know-how, foreign infrastructure and the figure of Enrico Mattei, both from a private and public point of view.

A photographic record of a company and a country

A photographic heritage of considerable historical and artistic value, in terms of content, authors and the photographic studios involved: from Federico Patellani to Mimmo Jodice, as well as Aldo Ballo, Bruno Stefani, Marco Anelli, Studio Rotofoto, Studio Giacomelli and Publifoto. Eni’s historical photographic archive contains:
  • 500,000 photographic prints in both black and white and colour
  • 200,000 slides
  • 30,000 negatives
all of various sizes and types, over a time span that covers the whole of the last century. The wealth of the collection makes it possible to trace the history of Eni and many of its companies through a heritage of immediately accessible information that is full of significance. The splendid photographs taken during the second half of the nineteen-fifties by Federico Patellani at the Egyptian oilfields fields do not only show us the characteristics of the fields themselves, but provide a testimony of the collaboration between Eni technicians and local workers. Similarly, the photographs taken in the same period at the first Agip Motels not only show the sober architectural and furnishing choices, but also the spirit of efficiency and courtesy, the real strengths of the recently created Agip distribution network.

The wealth of the archive

The photographic archive was created in February 2005, after having established and implemented optimal conditions for the specific conservation of all types of material deposited at the Pomezia site. To date, over 400 services have been archived, a total of about 10,000 shots, mainly related to the Chairman Enrico Mattei, industrial infrastructure and service stations. The cataloguing of the photographic archive material is done using the same software used all types of documents held by the Historical Archive and a special photo card, designed to international standards.

The Agip Fund

The Agip Fund contains images that document the historical and industrial evolution of Eni in Italy and abroad, since the 1920s. The first oil exploration activities and refining plants, with an emphasis on the historic site of Cortemaggiore and oil exploration activities of Aipa (Azienda Italiana Petroli Albanesi) in Albania. It includes an extensive report on Agip’s exploration activities in Iran, photographed by Federico Patellani in the late fifties. A large quantity of images is dedicated to the fuel distribution network, making it possible to follow the architectural evolution of service stations in Italy and abroad, the Agip brand and additional customer services, such as Ristoragip and Motelagip. Federico Patellani also produced a substantial reportage on service stations from the north to the south of Italy, a “minor”, authentic Italy, as seen from the Agip service stations. This fund also contains shots that show development of the production and sales facilities of Agipgas.

The Anic Fund

The Anic Fund contains images of the big petrochemical plants operated by Eni that ran the company’s chemical business: 
  • the Bari refinery, built in 1938 for the treatment of Albanian crude oil through a hydrogenation process
  • the Livorno refinery, completed in 1940 with facilities for the production of lubricants and paraffin, as well as photos of the damage caused by air raids during the war
  • the Ravenna petrochemical plant, with photos of the inauguration in 1958 in the presence of Enrico Mattei and leading political personalities
  • photographs of the processing plants of oils and lubricants at the Novara refinery
  • the Gela petrochemical plant, with pictures of the ceremony of laying the foundation stone in 1960 with Enrico Mattei and the minister Emilio Colombo.

The Archive also contains photographs of official events, such as visits by Enrico Mattei to the plants and moments from the daily life of the workforce.

The Eni Fund

The Eni Fund contains images of the managers and technicians who have contributed to the development of Eni, as well as institutional, business and political figures visiting the company’s facilities and engaged in meetings and conferences. The Archive also preserves photos that show the social life of Eni employees from the fifties onwards at the mountain colony-village of Borca di Cadore and the seaside colony at Cesenatico. Plus, it is also possible to view photos of the construction site of the office building of Rome and images of the Metanopoli complex.

The Snam Fund

The Snam Fund tells the story of the introduction of natural gas in Italy through the excavation and the laying of a dense network of pipelines, the export of technical know-how and infrastructure, particularly to Europe and developing countries. There are also photographs from the fifties of plants at various Italian sites that testify to the widespread use of natural gas for industrial use and the recompression plants in San Donato Milanese, Ravenna, Cavenago and Caviaga. The Archive also has images of the tankers used to transport gas and others covering the official visits of dignitaries to the plants.

A Focus on Enrico Mattei

The man, the public figure, the manager whose vision, also through public and private images, left an unmistakable mark. Images of his family of origin, the places where he spent his childhood and adolescence, military service, his first job at the tannery in Matelica, his meeting with Greta Paulas, often at his side also on public occasions, his activities as a partisan and honours received. And then the beginnings of Agip, the checks on exploration and production fields, meetings of a national and international character, inaugurations and visits to facilities, and moments of relaxation on fishing trips.


Enrico Mattei

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